Volume 16 (2022-23)

Each volume of Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning consists of four 100-page issues both in print and online. 

The articles and case studies confirmed for Volume 16 are listed below:

Volume 16 Number 4

  • Editorial
    Lyndon Bird, Editor, Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning
  • The business case for ransomware exercises for business and technology teams
    Jaeson A. Weber, Senior Business Resilience and Continuity Consultant and Vanessa V. Matthews, Founder and Chief Resilience Officer, Asfalis Advisors

    Ransomware attacks are increasing in complexity, scope and frequency. These attacks have had mounting impacts on critical global infrastructures and populations, with significant financial ramifications. This paper underscores the business case for the investment and execution of preparedness efforts to increase the readiness and resilience of business and technology teams. It begins by exploring the present characteristics of ransomware and the landscape of organisational preparedness, as described in various reports cataloguing current and forecasted trends in the field. This is supported by a commentary on recent noteworthy ransomware attacks. Emergency management, crisis management and general business development strategies are then merged to inform and offer actionable solutions for immediate implementation. The paper describes a systematic approach that provides opportunities to embed ransomware preparedness efforts into broader organisational strategies and goals. The business case concludes that investment in ransomware exercises offers additional benefits to organisations and companies, including employee retention and goal attainment.
    Keywords: business continuity; cyber security; ransomware; extortion; preparedness exercises; critical infrastructure; learning and development

  • Expanding and enhancing incident command system communications support
    Chris Lombard, Assistant Fire Chief, Seattle Fire Department

    This paper explores how advances in technology, widely expanded consumer communications capabilities and the lessons learned from response and recovery efforts to address large and/or complex incidents and events have all contributed to changes in how the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and incident command system have been used since their introduction in 2007. NIMS underscores the importance of providing incident response and recovery personnel, along with other key personnel, with access to the tools and information they need to make and communicate decisions. As this paper discusses, however, the command structure was not designed with today’s technology in mind. This paper reviews the history and organisation of supporting voice, data and video capabilities for effective incident management, and where the approach to addressing these — and other — emerging needs is heading.
    Keywords: communications; emergency communications; disaster communications; interoperability; ICS; incident command system; NIMS; National Incident Management System

  • Cracking the code: The keys to a successful business impact analysis
    Teresa Williams, Senior Specialist, Regional Business Continuity and Maria Resto-Leon, Senior Specialist, Regional Business Continuity, West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc

    The business impact analysis (BIA) is a major component of risk management and business continuity planning. It is the process of assessing the impact over time of a disruption on the organisation’s people, products, services, and to its customers. This paper offers guidance on establishing and completing a comprehensive BIA that represents the organisation, department or process to achieve compliance and, ultimately, resilience. To remain competitive, organisations must examine and adapt their BIAs when circumstances change, whether internally or externally. This paper provides a formula to ensure the BIA is developed methodically. By considering organisational culture and standards, internal and external assessment requirements, and standardised analysis calculations, the organisation will create a BIA that closely reflects its environment and yet still provides scope for improvement. The paper also considers metrics and planning activities to support BIA design. By following this guidance in this paper, organisations will be better able to crack the BIA code and take a value-added approach to business continuity planning.
    Keywords: BIA design; business continuity; resilience programme; BIA formula

  • Adapting preparedness outreach to a virtual world
    Ilyssa Plumer, Community Preparedness Officer, Samantha Robinson, Community Preparedness Specialist and Tanya Toribio, Regional Preparedness Liaison, FEMA Region 10

    Over the last two years, agencies have experimented with new systems and tactics to reach as many people as possible with critical preparedness information. This paper describes how COVID-19 forced FEMA Region 10 to adapt its public education and outreach strategy to a fully online space in order to keep the public informed about potential disasters. The paper discusses how the Individual and Community Preparedness team at FEMA Region 10 reaches thousands of people around the world by hosting regular webinars, live events, workshops and training sessions, and publishing a monthly newsletter. The paper also argues that if preparedness and response organisations are to evolve their outreach strategies and messaging plans and extend the reach of their messages, they must continue to adapt and to meet their target audience where they are.
    Keywords: outreach; virtual; preparedness; education; engagement

  • Conducting a full-scale emergency management exercise during COVID-19: A case study of Puyallup Chill Out 2021
    Kirstin Hofmann, Emergency Manager, City of Puyallup and Greg Massey, Captain, Puyallup Police Department

    The COVID-19 public health emergency severely limited the ability of emergency managers to conduct emergency exercises, particularly at the functional or full-scale level. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response, other emergencies continued, and local emergency management was called to respond, ensuring that local guidelines and COVID-19 restrictions were observed. This paper describes how the pandemic impacted on the City of Puyallup’s emergency management training and exercise programme and how the City adapted to conduct a full-scale exercise in the autumn of 2021. Multiple delays, planning partners overwhelmed by COVID-19, and emergencies that occurred prior to the exercise were all addressed and included in the exercise scenario. The City of Puyallup and its planning partners built in contingencies in the run-up to the exercise, all the way through to the day of exercise play. Providing a safe, realistic and timely opportunity for the City of Puyallup and partners to conduct the exercise has resulted in a far-reaching after-action report and improvement plan to guide the preparedness and planning efforts of the City and its partners.
    Keywords: COVID-19; full-scale exercise; emergency management; planning; shelter; extreme weather

  • Tips for managing a remote workforce
    Cary Jasgur, First Vice President, Enterprise Resilience, Amalgamated Bank

    With the initial disruption of COVID-19 now settling down, organisations are finding themselves in a new situation, where some of their previously onsite workforce is now fully remote or working according to a hybrid model of onsite and remote work, and some new employees have been hired as fully remote. This new model of dispersed employees presents managers, supervisors and leaders with fresh challenges when it comes to checking in on employees and providing them with the guidance, they need to perform their daily functions. This paper supplies key tips for the successful management of remote workforces. As well as how to balance the team dynamic with employees in multiple locations and differing work types, such as, fully remote, hybrid and onsite, the paper will also explore the use of various technologies and methods for ensuring employees are working to the best of their ability and continue to be content and productive in whatever environment they find themselves working.
    Keywords: remote workforce; work from home; business continuity; disaster recovery; enterprise resilience

  • When what can go wrong, does go wrong: Fire department operations during cascading events
    Bryan Norris, Deputy Chief, San Antonio Fire Department

    In 2021, Texas experienced a historic winter storm that paralysed the state. In particular, the city of San Antonio experienced a weather system which, over the span of seven days, created a pattern of cascading issues. This paper describes how the situation forced the San Antonio Fire Department to adapt its policies and procedures to respond to issues and circumstances that were never even thought possible for the area. The paper shows how critical thinking and innovation provided the department the ability to respond to the needs of the residents of San Antonio.
    Keywords: San Antonio; Winter Storm Uri; response; adaptation; cascading events

  • Community Emergency Response Teams and disaster volunteerism in Latin America
    Matt Lyttle, Director, Defense and Security Segment, Guidehouse, Patricio Poblete, Executive Director, CERT Latin Global and Liliana Encinas, LISTOS National Program Director, Fire Services Training Institute and Bilingual Public Outreach Coordinator/Public Information Officer, Santa Barbara, California City Fire Department

    While it may be more common to think of a disaster volunteer as someone from outside the community who comes to assist during times of need, it is important not to forget those members of the community who are well poised to build grassroots resilience when provided with the necessary training and tools. This paper examines the state of disaster volunteerism in Latin America and Spanish-speaking communities in the USA who have been exposed to the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programme, with an emphasis on the perceptions of and motivations for grassroots volunteerism from the perspective of both local emergency managers and CERT volunteers. The research team developed an online survey and shared it with active Spanish-speaking emergency management groups throughout the USA, Mexico, Central and South America. Conducted over nine days in October 2022, the survey collected 40 responses from the target demographic. The results show that enthusiasm for disaster volunteerism is high throughout the communities surveyed. Established disaster volunteer training programmes like CERT and LISTOS have already been successfully exported from the USA to Chile, Honduras and Mexico. An international community of emergency managers should consider how else to support grassroots preparedness activities in Latin America to ensure that local communities are empowered to direct their own resilience-building initiatives.
    Keywords: disaster volunteerism; Community Emergency Response Teams; Latin America; disaster preparedness; local emergency planning

Volume 16 Number 3

  • Editorial
    Lyndon Bird, Editor, Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning
  • The King County Regional Trusted Partner Network: A case study of programme development, implementation and lessons learned from the first two years
    Sheri Badger, Public Information Officer and Susanna Trimarco, Public Outreach Specialist, King County Office of Emergency Management

    In 2017, Washington State passed a law requiring life-safety alerts and warnings to be delivered to its residents in languages they understand. In response, King County Emergency Management and its partners developed an inclusive emergency communications plan to address this challenge. A key goal of this plan was the development of a trusted partner network (TPN), run by volunteers from the county’s various language and ethnic groups, to relay timely life-safety alerts to their communities, in order to save additional lives and property. This paper outlines the development of the TPN from concept to activation, and shares the lessons learned along the way. It also describes the limitations of the programme and the various factors that jurisdictions should consider before replicating such a programme.
    Keywords: LEP; alerts; emergency; language access; messaging; communications; ethnic

  • What COVID-19 has taught us about effective employee communication
    Oliver S. Schmidt, President & Chief Executive Officer, C4CS

    Effective communication with internal and external stakeholders is an indispensable component of a successful response to crises both brief and long-lasting. Employee communication must increase in volume and frequency, and effectively inform, educate and empower employees. The development, testing and delivery of clear and easy-to-understand messages must be prioritised along with the enablement of continuous employee feedback. Drawing on industry best practice, personal experience and an extensive review of the literature, this paper concludes that the systematic planning, implementation and evaluation of a company’s employee communication must be conducted on an ongoing, company-wide basis so that management can rely on it to minimise crisis-related damage, seize the opportunities a crisis may present, and convert the resulting organisational change into competitive advantages.
    Keywords: employee communication; COVID-19 response; crisis preparedness; continuous dialogue; communication allies; consistent messaging

  • Provincial incident command system: Manitoba’s response to the COVID-19 Omicron wave
    David Matear, Provincial Executive Director, Diagnostic and Surgical Recovery Task Force, Government of Manitoba

    This paper describes how the Government of Manitoba employed the incident command system (ICS) to support its COVID-19 response from March 2020 to March 2022. The paper describes how the system evolved during this period to optimise the efficiency and effectiveness of emergency response and recovery efforts. The paper supports a more comprehensive implementation of the ICS to manage emergency and recovery effectively, with specific reference to the Omicron wave of the pandemic.
    Keywords: emergency preparedness; healthcare; hospital; incident command system

  • Failsafe points in data centre disaster recovery response
    Russell Neal, Independent Consultant in Data Centre Disaster Recovery Planning and Technical Programme Management

    Certain social psychological variables can result in delays to essential steps in IT data centre disaster recovery response, including the formal declaration of disaster. These delays can result in failure to meet recovery time objectives, additional financial losses, regulatory issues and a significant loss of customer goodwill, all beyond what would have been incurred in the absence of delays. This paper describes a failsafe model to counter these variables. The model will help ensure that any disaster recovery response step earmarked as a failsafe point is completed in a timely manner, from the moment of disaster to the resumption of business.
    Keywords: information technology (IT) disaster recovery; failsafe; bystander effect; locus of control; submission to authority; leadership style; emergent norms; invocation delays; decision delays

  • Turning islands into bridges: Community-based response after a catastrophic earthquake
    Consuelo Crow, Emergency Planner, Seattle Office of Emergency Management and Lucia Schmit, Director, Snohomish County, WA Department of Emergency Management

    The workforce rallying point model is intended to activate within the first 24 hours after a catastrophic earthquake. Its purpose is to provide employees with access to critical information and early response assignments following a Cascadia subduction zone-type event. The consequences from a catastrophic event could include loss of communication with departmental leadership, as well as loss of safe worksite facilities. A systems failure of this magnitude requires rethinking traditional centralised disaster response models. Building from lessons learned in past catastrophes, the City of Seattle is rewriting its earthquake response plan to account for an unknown period of isolation. The Seattle Office of Emergency Management has identified eight sites as potential workforce rallying points based on anticipated impacts to bridges, roadways and other infrastructure. Workforce rallying points serve four primary purposes: (1) citywide communications connectivity for consequence management activities, (2) City of Seattle staff collection and assignment points, (3) impact assessment and reporting hubs, and (4) public information distribution points, including the availability of in-language community messaging. The new plan embraces decentralised decision making, through workforce rallying points, and by supporting community empowerment through spontaneous community response efforts.
    Keywords: workforce rallying point; community lifelines; earthquake; catastrophe; isolation phase; Cascadia

  • Nanomanagement networking: Organisational resilience to COVID-19 surge capacity in Egypt
    Wael Omran Aly, Professor of Public Administration, High Institute of Management Sciences and Foreign Trade, New Cairo Academy

    This paper draws on the literature of nanomanagement and organisational resilience to explore the reality of surge capacity in the context of the Egyptian government’s effort to contain the recent COVID-19 pandemic. It utilises nanomanagement networking to explain the significant models of decision making, communication and sense making, taking into account the resilient interconnections and interdependence among organisations, to understand how these impact on the resilience of crisis management surge capacity. With a focus on COVID-19 crisis management in Egypt, the study analyses empirical data collected from interviews with actors from different governmental organisations. Following this, the paper focuses on the role of nanomanagement in realising the resilience of interorganisational network capacity to obtain accurate and up-to-date information in order to develop the system strategies and responses necessary to enable convenient surge capacity for COVID-19 crisis management.
    Keywords: nanomanagement; surge capacity; organisational resilience; COVID-19 crisis management

Volume 16 Number 2

  • Editorial
    Lyndon Bird, Editor, Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning
  • Preparing for compounding crises: Staff shortages and cyber-attack vulnerability in the era of COVID-19
    Joshua Klindienst, Emergency Physician, US Acute Care Solutions, et al.

    In 2020, while the USA was experiencing successive waves of COVID-19, Universal Health Services experienced a major cyber attack that crippled electronic systems in over 200 hospitals, including a major academic medical centre that was playing a key regional role in COVID-19 care and clinical trials. This paper discusses the impact of the attack on clinical operations, informatics, research and teaching, contextualising the case study within more wide-scale trends driving the rise in cyber attacks on healthcare systems. The compounding relationships between COVID-19, healthcare workforce depletion and cyber-security vulnerabilities form the framework of the discussion and action plan. Commitments to institutional best practices, large-scale investments in infrastructure, and above all increasing support for the critical human actors carrying out the work, are urgently needed to secure the healthcare system against these destabilising threats. Within this context, this paper argues that information security in the healthcare sector must be reimagined and integrated with greater support for the needs of frontline healthcare workers.
    Keywords: COVID-19, cyber attacks, healthcare sector, information security

  • Using a risk-based approach to protect high-risk chemical infrastructure
    Todd Klessman, Deputy Associate Director for Chemical Security, Zeina Azar, Section Chief for Standardization and Evaluation, Office of Chemical Security and Gina Bell, Programme Analyst, Office of Chemical Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

    This paper provides an overview of the steps that entities in possession of potentially dangerous chemicals can take to reduce the risk that those chemicals will be stolen, diverted or weaponised, starting with the identification and assessment of the chemicals that may present a security risk, and concluding with the development and implementation of an appropriate facility security plan. The paper describes the different types of security risks presented by different chemicals, the security concepts a facility should keep in mind when designing its security plan, and the five primary security guideposts that any comprehensive chemical facility security plan should address, namely: detection; delay; response; cyber security; and policies, plans and procedures.
    Keywords: chemical security, risk management, security-in-depth, security guideposts

  • The Kaiser Permanente Northern California COVID-19 physician redeployment experience: Redeploying physicians to meet the demands of the pandemic
    Mary C. Meyer, Regional Medical Director of Emergency Management, The Permanente Medical Group, et al.

    This paper describes a redeployment programme developed by Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KP NCAL) to meet physician staffing needs during five COVID-19 surges in Northern California. By leveraging two existing programmes, creating a flexible system of redeployment levels, and supporting the system with a robust training programme, the physician redeployment programme effectively addressed physician staffing needs, maximised excellent patient care, and supported KP NCAL physicians during the pandemic. The programme delivered care to over 131,000 outpatients with COVID-19 infection and redeployed physicians into more than 800 inpatient shifts.
    Keywords: emergency management, disaster response, surge staffing, pandemic response, physician redeployment

  • Anticipating ‘The Big One’: Developing decision support with emergency managers to mitigate flood impacts
    Jacob Asherman, Meteorologist, National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, et al.

    Flooding from excessive rainfall remains a major weather hazard with respect to lives and property. The US National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center and National Water Center work continuously and collaboratively to produce accurate and timely forecasts of potential flooding disasters for the public. This paper explores their ongoing efforts to mitigate flood impacts with enhanced impact-based decision support services, via the Excessive Rainfall Outlook (ERO) and Flood Inundation Mapping (FIM) services. Future directions for precipitation and flood inundation forecasting are also discussed. Through the ERO and FIM services, the National Weather Service hopes to strengthen collaboration with partners in the weather industry, emergency management and water resources management to develop weather, water and climate readiness in communities around the nation.
    Keywords: flood, inundation, impact, precipitation, excessive rainfall, flash flooding, mitigation, emergency management

  • Crisis decision making: Lessons from a SWAT team
    Kevin Cyr, Officer in Charge, Lower Mainland District Integrated Emergency Response Team, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

    Operating in environments with catastrophic downside risk requires the application of decision-making processes that differ from those applied in situations with more symmetrical risk-to-reward ratios. Using a case study of a SWAT team deployed for a manhunt of an armed gunman who had shot numerous people including a police officer, this paper explores how to avoid excessive information gathering by applying a bias for action and limiting variables. The paper also discusses the danger in attenuating the aggressiveness of action as a means to mitigate risk. Instead, the author argues that decision makers should distinguish between the questions of if they should do something rather than how they should do something. By defining decision gates to separate these questions, decision makers will be better equipped to differentiate uncertainty from indecision. Finally, the paper looks at the difference between strategies that prioritise efficiency over effectiveness and recommends assessments of decision-making processes rather than just outcomes when reviewing critical incident response.
    Keywords: critical incident command, decision-making, risk management

  • COVID-19 and continuity planning: One university’s perspective
    Anne-Marie McLaughlin, Director of Emergency Management and Continuity and Caleb Palley, Continuity Analyst, New York University Department of Campus Safety

    In 2018, New York University shifted from conventional continuity of operations planning to what the team has dubbed ‘continuity for action’. Prior to 2018, business continuity efforts at the university were decentralised. Now, however, the university uses a relational database that allows data to be accessed quickly to meet the needs of an emergency. The migration of plans into this database has taken time, but the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the utility of the approach. This paper describes the university’s adoption of the ‘continuity for action’ approach and offers insights into how business continuity planning data plays a critical role in speeding an organisation from response into recovery.
    Keywords: resiliency, higher education, continuity, compliance, emergency management, COVID-19

  • Effective coordination of cyber incidents: The role of emergency management
    Casey Ramsey, Director of Emergency Management & Homeland Security, Hall County

    This paper discusses how a cyber attack can impact on local government. It walks through the 2020 cyber attack on Hall County, GA and how the County responded. Emphasis is placed on how the local emergency management agency was utilised and designated the lead agency to coordinate the response. The paper explains both why and how emergency management should be involved in the response to such attacks. Finally, the paper reviews the lessons learned and changes made as a result of the attack.
    Keywords: ransomware, cyber attack, Hall County, Hall County EMA

  • Why and how to shift from passive planning to active risk management
    Andy Witts, Senior Director of Alliances, Infinite Blue

    This paper will recap and review some of the common pain points experienced by different industry verticals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper argues that risk assessment exercises provide valuable data that organisations can leverage in their business impact analyses to better identify the gaps and areas that need attention.
    Keywords: risk assessment, business impact analysis, compound threats, vendors, single point of failure, applications, processes, business continuity plan, pandemic, COVID-19

Volume 16 Number 1

  • Editorial
    Lyndon Bird, Editor, Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning
  • Resilience risk controls and the Netflix Unified Resilience Framework
    Scott Baldwin, Global Head of Enterprise Resilience, Gayle Anders, Global Business Continuity Program Manager and T.J. Mead, Global Technology Continuity Program Manager, Netflix

    This paper argues that programmes built around existing enterprise resilience/business continuity management (ER/BCM) metrics provide a low return on investment, which ultimately can damage the perceived value of the industry. It goes on to introduce a new approach to creating and measuring ER/BCM programmes that provides a much greater level of return for a smaller investment. Finally, it describes how this new approach can be used to satisfy traditional programme requirements, and provides a shared framework for emerging uses, such as cyber resilience.
    Keywords: business continuity, technology resiliency, disaster recovery, information security, enterprise resilience, criticality, capability

  • How to leverage business leadership’s newfound interest in business continuity
    Grace Burley, Managing Director, Witt O’Brien’s

    In 2020, business continuity programmes around the world came under the spotlight like never before. This paper investigates whether business continuity professionals have done enough to maintain this newfound attention and leverage the opportunity associated with it. The paper argues that business continuity professionals must build on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 response and work more closely with business leaders. The paper describes practical and tangible ways to do this, including leveraging data and asking leadership for feedback on existing approaches and plans, with a view to maintaining business leaders’ focus on business continuity.
    Keywords: business continuity, business disruption, business leadership, business continuity data, business continuity plans, business crisis, resilience, supply chain, pandemic

  • Public–private intelligence coordination
    Chris Trzeciak, Vice President and Business Continuity Risk Officer, Nuveen and Michael Hink, Police Officer, Chicago Police Department

    The majority of US critical infrastructure is managed and controlled by the private sector. Nearly all commercial and retail banking is operated by private corporations and non-public entities. This reality creates the need for timely information sharing between the public and private sectors to support effective crisis response. This paper explores the current information-sharing environment between the public and private sectors and identifies best practices for improving information sharing between private and public sector organisations.
    Keywords: public–private partnership, information sharing, intelligence coordination

  • The pros and cons of having a third-party vendor manage one’s business continuity programme
    Kurt Sohn, Vice President, Client Experience, Virtual Corporation

    Whether starting from scratch or inheriting a business continuity programme that has struggled to meet management expectations, how does one choose the best path forward? When is the right time to leverage external resources, and how does one do so effectively? When should one look to outsource certain parts of the programme, and when does it make sense to rely completely on third-party vendors? This paper discusses the key information to know before making such decisions, providing readers with the tools they need to evaluate vendors properly before entering into a contract, thus helping organisations hire the ‘extra help’ they need.
    Keywords: outsourcing business continuity, outsourcing business resilience, business continuity consulting, business continuity as a service, disaster recovery as a service

  • Business continuity beyond COVID-19: Lessons learned and the ‘illusion of preparedness’
    Tracy Hall, Senior Manager, Wolf & Company

    The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organisations to react swiftly to an evolving crisis and find creative solutions in real time. In a relatively short period, remote access, employee hardware requirements and flexible work schedules have significantly raised people’s expectations regarding what constitutes a ‘normal’ level of preparedness. However, have organisations capitalised on the lessons learned from the event to improve operational practices and business opportunities, or has the situation merely created an illusion of preparedness? This paper describes the incredible strides made over the last two years before exploring the key lessons that have been overlooked and discussing the potentially misleading sense of readiness that threatens to prevail.
    Keywords: pandemic planning, COVID-19, preparedness, business continuity

  • Remote work and climate change: Considerations for grid resilience in the 21st century
    Jackie Ratner, Senior Project Manager, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, et al.

    This paper explores how the unprecedented dependence on remote work since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the demand for electricity. The paper discusses how the increased dependence on information and communication technologies has driven a shift in the daytime demand for power, from the commercial sector to the residential sector, prompting changes in the way electric utilities plan for peak load demand. As the article goes on to argue, this exposes the growing need for greater grid resilience in order to safeguard the supply of electricity in the face of increasingly frequent potential disruptions such as extreme weather events. The paper finds that emergency planners and responders, public agencies, utilities and other public and private sector stakeholders will need to collaborate ever more closely when devising and implementing solutions as well as when responding to emergencies.
    Keywords: remote work, energy, electricity, grid, resilience

  • Returning to the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic: A framework to inform business decision-making
    Lisa M. Koonin, Founder and Principal, Health Preparedness Partners

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, many office-based workplaces closed and a large proportion of the workforce switched to working remotely. Plans to return to the office, however, have been delayed on several occasions due to surges in cases related to virus variants. Recognising that businesses need to know when and how to return safely to their offices, this paper provides a six-part framework to help guide their decisions regarding workplace re-entry.
    Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, return-to-work, workplace, policies, office, framework

  • Society matters: What steps can be taken to minimise elite panic?
    Deborah FitzPatrick, Business Continuity Advisor, St John Ambulance

    This paper examines the concept of panic, drawing on the experience of the people of New Orleans in the lead-up and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Of particular interest is how residents of the city were affected by the response from the city’s elite leadership. The paper discusses the lessons learned from this event and provides recommendations to reduce elite panic and improve cooperation between emergency management leaders and those governing the communities, regions and countries they serve, with a view to enhancing social capital.
    Keywords: panic, elite panic, psycho-social awareness, evacuation, emergency management, Hurricane Katrina

  • Lessons learned from the California fire season: Behind the lens
    Dana Carey, Office of Emergency Services Manager and Isamar Garcia, Emergency Services Planner, Yolo County Office of Emergency Services

    Wildfires in California have been progressively increasing in duration, intensity and frequency. In response, a number of best practices have been developed for mitigating and responding to fires within the state. This paper describes the lessons learned within core capabilities and describes current practices. Reflections are offered as a consideration and should not be interpreted as standards of practice.
    Keywords: California, fires, operational coordination, alert and warning, evacuations, mass care, preparedness